Outer Space Warfare Challenges: Theory, Doctrine, Startegies and Tactics

The speaker started the lecture with the question: why space war? The answer to the question highlighted the fact that space is mostly used to generate and transmit information. In addition to that, even the military industry employed equipment and technological intelligence in response to their activities. The United States considers space as something too important for a variety of reasons. Generally, the space war is very political in the sense that a country’s dominance in space symbolizes power even on the ground.

The space war is the fighting between machines without human casualties. It resembles video games but it costs a country to lose billions of dollars if attacked, and usually, the potential space threats come with political interests and reasons. Space war is not like sophisticated drones war that looks like a video game using a screen and remote to control and attack a specific target and cause human casualties. The space war does not reflect on human casualties but a threat that can affect a country’s military intelligence surveillance, satellite strategy such as communication satellite, cyber-attacks, changing codes, etc.

Space war becomes the symbol of power and it reflects on how China, Russia, and the U.S budgeted huge expenditure on space to monitor and protect their regional and political allies. Space wars have happened in many instances because of political and diplomatic implications. With a space war, a country can destroy the enemy’s satellite through disruption, denial, degradation, illumination, or delay to malfunction the enemy’s satellite. 

Szymanski talked about the unique characteristics of the global space system that is surrounded by tactical actions and strategic implications. Space war is highly political, and military action is hidden from public view. Space war is strategic and it’s difficult to figure out what happened. The missing space object is common with space war challenge, there was a country like Russia that missed a satellite for a specific target by the maneuver. The space war is all about deception, the means of attacking the space system is mainly economic and diplomatic with an attempt to limit the adversary country’s development.

Space war can also be in a form of a cyberattack by hijacking satellite, point satellite censors heat challenges to the sun, randomly spin satellite, randomly turn off the satellite sub-system, introduce a satellite to burn up reserve fuel or to destroy satellite system with high power lasers, etc., depending on a conflict level that a country has with its enemy, but the space war has no repercussion in terms of human casualties. Space war can also be a physical attack (territorial space system) such as an iron bomb on the target. It may be a space-based system attack that includes kinetic which causes debris, or gambling satellite and pulls to useless orbit, disassemble of satellite or cut wires to cause a malfunction of the satellite system.

At the end of the lecture, the question was asked on the ethical implication of outer space war. In response to the question, Szymanski explained that war in space has no human casualties like the ground war, and it’s the fighting with machines in outer space that are more relieved compared to the war on the ground. The space war is also tactical that even if a country stays away from it, its enemy may attack it for political and economic benefits. It sounds childish for a country to stay away and do nothing in space, in addition to that, now many developed countries are investing in space for diplomatic, economic, and political prosperity. Space Investment and development is all about communication, GPS, weather, and other vital information for technology and economic development. 

The last question was asked on why space programming takes a lot of money and resources, is it worth to be taking the battling into space rather than on the ground especially in terms of investment and money? Where the Szymanski answered the question that the decision to go into space or on the ground depends on a country’s interest, if a country wants to protect its potential borders only, then it may not be much interested in space. But a country with the interest of playing a vital role in global politics may invest heavily in space technology. For example, the countries who spend a lot on space such as the U.S, China, and Russia set a military base far from its border or attack a distant target where communication, GPS, surveillance, and other vital information are needed. Conclusively, the decision of space investment and expenditure depends on the country’s interest and power.

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